LILONGWE (Reuters) - Falling oil prices could boost Malawi's
economy, allowing it to grow this year by the 8.7 percent forecast by
the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said
"From a positive sense we stand to gain, our terms of trade could
benefit from that and this could help us manage the IMF set target of
8.7 percent (GDP) growth," Gondwe told Reuters in an interview.
The African nation's economy, which has been enjoying a modest boom,
was buffeted earlier this year by surging fuel costs. Malawi relies on
agriculture, primarily tobacco, for its foreign earnings and is
dependent on imported oil and gas.
Malawi's government had expected to spend around $300 million on oil
imports in 2008, almost double what it spent in 2007. The drop in oil
prices over the past three months will provide some relief for the
national treasury, Gondwe said.
International benchmark U.S. crude was trading on Friday at about $64 a barrel compared to its record high of $147.27 in July.
One of the poorest nations in Africa, Malawi has seen its economy
expand due to good maize harvests, economic reforms and an increase in
aid from Western nations and other international donors